After initial cancellation, Downer Classic bike race will return this summer

Day-long bike race scheduled for June 24

Photo credit: Karl Hendrikse

Last updated on June 4th, 2021 at 02:10 pm

The Otto Wenz Café Hollander Downer Classic, a popular bike race on Milwaukee’s East Side, is set to take place Thursday, June 24.

Historic Downer Avenue BID announced the news Thursday, months after initially canceling the annual event in light of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“There was an outpouring of sadness form community members and business owners at the cancellation of the race. As restrictions have eased and potential fines became irrelevant, organizers worked fast to bring the beloved race back to Downer Avenue this year,” the BID said in a news release.

The day-long race event is one of the stops on the Tour of America’s Dairyland, a competitive road biking series scheduled to take place June 16 – June 27. For the past 13 years (except for last year), ToAD draws cyclists from across the U.S. and overseas to compete in criterium-style races, hosted by neighborhoods and business districts. Spectators gather by the thousands to be part of the action and patronize nearby bars, restaurants and businesses. 

“Breadsmith is excited to be part of a neighborhood that hosts events like the Downer Classic and we’re thrilled for its return this year,” said the bakery’s operations manager Isaac Godin in the release. “This is an amazing event that brings our community together to watch pro and amateur cyclists race right on Downer.”

Breadsmith has a location at 2632 N. Downer Ave.

In addition to pro criterium racing, the Downer Classic will include a kids’ race event and Belgian Beer Festival. The event is typically held on a Saturday, and will return to that format in 2022.

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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